There's Another Half Lewis/Half Harris Sibling?
Xander flopped down, staring at his half-sister. "Okay, you called panicking. What's up?"
She blinked a few times. "I'm... I've got bad thoughts."
"Good to know it's not just me," he joked, grinning at her. "What sort of bad thoughts?"
"I was thinking I might like a kid someday soon."
He blinked a few times. "Well, I can't do more than cheerlead for that, Sis," he said dryly. "I can help you pick out a baby daddy."
"I don't think I want a daddy."
"Okay, so sperm bank?" She nodded at that slightly, looking worried. "So why the heavy thoughts?"
"Did you know we have another half sibling?"
"Harl? Yeah. I want to kill her ex. He's kinda more psycho than not and I'm hoping no demon takes him as a minion. Actually I am going to kill her ex just to be safe since no one else seems to be able to. Spike's bored this week."
She blinked at him. "Wow, overprotective boob," she complained. He pulled up news stories to show her. "Oh, that poor girl," she sighed. "So you met with her?"
"Yeah, and told her about you." He grinned. "She's...unique. Very tough. Kinda on the line of not really nice. Has a hyena for a pet, who adores me." He grinned. "He thought I'd make a great matriarch in his tribe."
She burped, shaking her head and sipping her coffee. "The possession?"
"Yeah." He nodded. "She pouted but the poor baby loves me too." He grinned. "He's really soft."
"I'm sure he is." She stared at him. "Why am I the normal one?"
"I don't know," he quipped, grinning at Stark as he walked in then at her. "Why are you the normal one? Was it Jane's science, Darcy?" She swatted him on the arm, rolling her eyes with a sigh.
Stark looked at her. "Huge things?"
"Talking about our other half sib," Xander quipped. "And Darcy may want to hit a spermcicle someday soon."
Stark nodded at that. "I don't need to know that until she gets pregnant so we can take safety precautions." He looked at her. "Another half-sibling?" She nodded. "Is she nice?"
"Apparently I'm the normal one," she said dryly. "That one has a hyena as a pet."
He walked off nodding at that. "Sure. I totally get that urge. Romanoff would probably have a wolf." He went to shake himself in his lab. Because that was just wrong. Lewis was not the most normal young woman. She gave him such bad thoughts sometimes.
She looked at him. "Do you think I'd make a good mom?"
"Yeah, I do. You care, you know how to nag and not-quite nag to get things done. Your kids will be less work than Jane was once they're out of diapers." She grinned and nodded. "I'll happily teach him how to use a nerf gun when he's old enough if I'm still around."
"Aww." She hugged him. "Thanks, Xander."
"Welcome." He cuddled her. "You need to get some hotty guy."
"They don't give pictures. They give fact sheets so I'll know what color hair and eyes. And if he self reports any genetic problems in the family. I won't know what he looks like, most likely his heritage, or his name."
"Or you could do what women have done since time immortal and just go pick up in a bar," he quipped with a smirk. "That way you get a pretty one."
"Yeah. I'm trying to avoid that. I'd get scowled at."
He nodded. "Could be. But it happens and it'd be cheaper. Don't you have to pay for sperm?"
"Yeah." She nodded. "Plus the doc to insert it."
"So going to the bar?"
"Is looking a lot better but how do you pick someone that way? Just hot? He could be crazy, he could have genetic problems, he might be psychotic. Is her ex really that bad?"
"And then some. He's so far out there that there's no statistical end point that he's gone past. On the psycho spectrum, the infinity edge of the bad end? He's out there in the dark somewhere." He waved a hand. "You could ask someone like Barton to pick you one."
"Then I'd have to deal with a baby daddy."
"Point. Not if you don't tell them but point."
"Maybe. At least then I'd know if they were crazy assholes."
"Yeah." He nodded with a grin at the woman walking in. "Hey, Pepper."
"Xander. What's going on?"
"Talking to Sis here about the other half-sib and her desire to be a baby momma."
"Awww. Is that sibling trying?"
"No, those were two different people," Darcy said with a sigh at the end. "I think I want kids some days. I'm missing making people eat. All the fussing, all that stuff. It's come out as baby envy." She frowned when Pepper gave her an odd look. "It has."
"I can see how that would happen. Is that a good reason for a kid?"
"No," she admitted. "But I'm kinda secure, more than I have been in my life. I'm finishing up a new degree soon. I don't know. I'm debating this with myself and I called up Xander to come give me other points of view."
"Mine was she needs to hit a bar because that sperm's cheaper than a bank's," Xander said with a nod. "And the future kid would be less work than Jane was once it was potty trained."
"That's probably a good point," Pepper agreed. "But there's a lot to consider about being a mom." Darcy handed over her pros and con list, letting her see it. "All very good points." She handed it back. "Are you financially prepared for motherhood?"
"I'm more stable than I ever have been. I can't guarantee I'll ever be this stable again."
"True." She nodded. "What sort of bank are you looking at?"
"I'm at the tossing ideas around stage, Pepper. And most of them are really expensive."
"Which why I suggested free bar sperm," Xander said.
Pepper nodded. "That could help but someone would find out eventually."
"So would a sperm donor," Darcy offered. "I think they tell them their sperm was used."
"Hmm. Could be." She considered it. "Maybe an agent who wanted one?"
"I didn't really want the daddy part of that though. That's a lot more work for the relationship, even if it's not a real one, just to make sure you get along."
"True." Pepper nodded, sighing. "I don't know, Darcy. It's not something I've thought of." Xander pulled out his vision journal to show her. She read it and winced. "Oh, wow."
He grinned and nodded. "Could be. Another realm's."
"I... I've never even thought about it." She walked off to think. Her and Tony having a daughter?
Xander put the journal back with a wink. "Alternate timeline."
"Ah." She nodded. "Okay, so... Got any ideas? Good ideas?"
"You're going to probably panic, no matter which way you choose. Once those two little pink lines show up on the test, you'll have second thoughts and panic a bit, and probably regret it a bit. So the reality is do you want that sort of later stress or the earlier stress and the wondering? I think you'll make a fantastic mom, Darcy." He got up to hug her. "You've already proven you're responsible and you can take care of people."
She nodded, resting against his shoulder. "Yeah, I can. And I miss it sometimes too." She sighed. "Maybe the bar pickup isn't a bad idea. At least then it'd be mostly anonymous."
"You could make sure he's pretty so the kid isn't a hunchback." She poked him but grinned up at him. He smirked back. Of course, that's when an alarm went off. "I think we set off the evil alarm." He frowned as he looked up.
She checked then got into the lockdown protocols, letting him go help the team if he wanted. Or follow her if he wanted. Xander could be protective of her.
Xander looked at the file, shaking his head. He called Stark's lab. "He's an idiot, psychotic mess. He keeps getting out of jail one way or another. His nemesis won't take him out," he reported. "And I really need to kill him for our other half-sib, Stark. Yup, have fun." He hung up. "I don't know if he followed me here or not."
"He could've decided it was a good idea." She led him off once he had his bag and they went into the lockdown shelter last to make sure everyone was in there. The team could handle one psychotic mess of an idiot she was sure.
Xander nodded at the heros as he walked past them. They had gathered for some intergalactic meeting over bigger things they had to handle together or something. Clint stared at him oddly so he held up the coffee pot before pouring some out. He sniffed the cup and shrugged, walking off again. "Are you coming to the meeting?" Clint asked him.
"Not if they're going to poison the coffee again and not like I'm employed right now," he quipped as he walked off sipping it. "You can tell whoever I'm immune to this one. Woo-hoo demon blood exposure," he finished blandly as he walked off.
Clint went to sniff he coffee and sure enough, it smelled wrong. So he put that aside for testing and made fresh. From a fresh bag of coffee too. A newly opened bag of filters. Fresh water from the pitcher in the fridge. New pot too just in case. "Sure," he said with a nod. "I'm telling his sister on him."
Darcy leaned out of the hallway. "I heard already." She went back to nagging her brother on his way to the infirmary. "I don't care if you are immune, Xander! Even the Goddess Caffeine does not require ingesting poisonous materials!"
"I'm fine! I'm immune, sis!"
"Suck it up before I tie you up and beat you to death!"
Clint grinned at the heros. "Darcy's brother is *real* unique but a great guy. He's backed up the slayers for years now. Though now he's not hired by them because the girls were bitches to him." He sipped from the new coffee, shaking his head. "If Summers is up for the meeting, just ignore the airhead. It's an act. If it's the Summers with the kraken, she's fine." He walked off drinking his new coffee, going to warn others.
Stark came up to talk to the visiting heros. "Okay, what is this guy's problem?" he asked one, who was a lot like him, but not into techno gear or science. "He tried to raid my building and we had to beat him nearly to death. Then he escaped SHIELD. Again apparently."
The man took the tablet to look at, wincing. "He is not good news." He looked up. "Why would he come here?"
"Not sure if it was about those two's half-sibling they recently found or not," he said dryly.
"Would I know them?"
"He said she has a hyena as a pet?"
"Oh. Her." He nodded once then sighed. "They broke up recently. She finally got away from his abusive self." He handed back the tablet. "I have no idea beyond arresting him. He's survived explosions, chemical exposures, and all sorts of problems."
Stark stared at him, then leaned closer. "Harris, that guy, has a lot of demonic poker contacts he can call on," he said quietly, making that guy tense up. "Is that going to cause hell in your city?"
"Yes. Probably. I'm not sure if we have any in the city or not."
"Hmm. Might want to find out, Wayne. Really. Ask him later if you want, but ..." He smirked a bit. "Xander's *real* unique. And highly overprotective over Lewis, that sister. The new one...." He stared at him. "This is the same guy that was fighting the demon battles in Africa while training the slayers down there."
"Got it," he said with a nod. "I'll try to figure out if we have to worry about that threat."
Darcy came back, shaking her head. "If it's about demons, ask Faith when she shows up. She's showing up instead of Buffy, Stark. Or so Giles just told Xander to see if he'd be there to back her up."
"That's fine. We like and appreciate Faith, Lewis." He nodded. "That half sister's ex?"
She grimaced. "Xander's really looking forward to him going bye-bye, not even because of her. I have no idea why otherwise. Maybe the psycho hit on him too." She shrugged. "Wouldn't be the first. He does draw bad guys." She went into the kitchen, sniffing the coffee.
"Barton made that, miss," the other hero said quietly.
She grinned. "It figures. Clint makes it a bit stronger than average." She made herself a cup with milk and walked off smiling at Stark. "Jane's back in the tower as of a half-hour ago but she's got a few things to get treated. I left Xander nagging her for me."
"That's fine, Short Stack." She walked off humming. "She's one of our better lab assistants. And nanny to be honest. Foster forgets to eat and sleep regularly." He walked off shaking his own head. "You can come down to the meeting room if you guys want. It's less sunny but people are showing up." He stepped back when two twinkles of light appeared. He stared at the squealing one then at the patient, older young woman. "Faith. You brought help?" he joked with a grin.
She nodded. "Amanda's to take notes and not hit on anyone." She glared at her. The younger slayer rolled her eyes. "You can probably go talk with Xander instead," she offered dryly.
"Eww! No thank you!" She pouted. "That's mean, Faith. He nags me about being bouncy and fun."
"X has plenty of that himself but you wear us all out, Amanda. So calm down, act like me, and no more squealing please. It was a long night."
"Coffee in the kitchen, freshly made," Bruce Wayne said with a point.
"She's not allowed to have even a drop," Faith warned. "Or we'll have to pay to rebuild this tower of shininess when she bounces it to pieces. Then she can go live with Xander."
"He's staying on my couch right now," Darcy quipped. "So she'd have to sleep on the floor. Amanda, our slayer in residence in HR is coming up on the next elevator so you two can catch up." She nodded, bouncing that way. She looked at Faith, grinning some. "She won the poker game?"
"Slayer rummy," she admitted then grinned. "He still doesn't have a steady place?"
"He's still wandering like a monk putting out small problems, and not getting paid for it," she quipped back.
"I gotta talk to Giles about that shit," Faith muttered. "Tell him I want reports. Real ones, not Buffy and Willowized ones."
"Yup." She texted that and nodded at the 'nope' she got back. She showed her. Faith took the phone to repeat her request and why. Xander sent back a link so she looked at that battle and winced. "Oh, flying Groo shit."
Darcy looked then at her. "That was one of the battles against Hela on Asgard. See, there I am appearing thanks to Thor's hammer." She pointed with a grin.
Faith blinked at her. "Wow."
"Had to happen for a bit thanks to that curse."
Faith handed back the phone after repeating her order. "Get him to do it anyway and I'll talk to the old, stuffy assholes in Cleveland about paying him for it. He should be making what I make at least." She walked off to talk to the other slayer too.
Darcy grinned at the heros. "That's Senior Slayer Faith and Amanda is newly onto the patrol rotation as of last month." She walked off again to talk to Xander. Maybe it'd get him paid for a bit if he did do the paperwork. She leaned down to kiss him on the forehead. "They pay the mercenaries who help. They can pay you like that." He nodded at that. "Amanda's in."
"Great," he said dryly. "Is she pretending to be an airhead already?"
"Squealing. A lot of squealing."
"Hmm. Yeah. And yet the girl passed her undergrad last month." Darcy grinned. "In biophysics."
Stark looked over. "She did?" He nodded. "Huh." Stark nodded. "Is she looking for a good lab to support her in her further career?" Xander shrugged. "I'll have to talk to her about signing on with Stark. We're all about helping our people get higher degrees. Right, Lewis?"
"All I need is that judge to tell SHIELD to stop it," she said. "Once they do, I have a masters in education, Stark."
He blinked at her. "You do?" She nodded with a grin. "Yeah, we gotta help you stop that. Today if possible." He made a note to himself. Natasha led the others in. "Howdy," he said with a wave, putting his tablet down. The two from upstairs came in with Jane Foster behind them. "Where's Richards this time?" he asked.
Xander checked his phone then winced. "Um, I think he's in space, Stark." He showed him that. "But no real clue. Call his wife since she's the one who has sense over there." He nodded at the mutant team leader coming in. "Hey." He shook his hand. "I'm not attending but I'll listen in because sometimes we have to fall into those battles too." Amanda walked in looking confused. "Do not start, you little bratling." She pouted. "She who has a degree cannot pout," he ordered. She smirked a bit. "I heard. Congrats."
"Thank you, Xander." She kissed him on the cheek. "But you're ruining my rep."
"Yeah, because these guys will expect you to be serious. Which is why I talked Giles into not sending Buffy." Faith nodded, sitting next to him. "Jane, here, take my seat. I'm just listening."
"That's fine, Xander. You handle stupid things we have to jump into," she agreed, sitting in his former seat. She looked at the others then at Amanda. "What was the degree in?"
"Biophysics." She grinned. "I'm going to Columbia next year."
"We here at Stark International pay for education," Stark offered. "We should chat after this, Slayer Amanda. We'd love to nurture a future award winning physicist." The slayer blushed. "And we are only a few blocks from Columbia."
"I'll.... I have no idea if that's even allowed."
Faith looked at her, nodding. "Plenty of us have jobs and college. Plus it'd mean you could probably intern easier or something. Talk to the man. I can wait and chat with Darcy and X. Maybe we can hit a store or something."
"You know I don't shop," Xander said bitterly.
"Yeah and I know the cause of those flashbacks too. I wanted to hit a sports store to get a new knife."
Xander nodded with a grin. "I know a few nice speciality weapons shops, Faith." She grinned at that. He looked at Darcy.
"I still have my taser but I need more cartridges so I might tag along."
Faith grinned. "It's a great thing he has girls who aren't bitches around him. There's plenty of days I wanna run away too."
"You can retire," Amanda reminded her. "Go to training and non-battle status, Faith. Or just take a long vacay."
"I do that and the world'll end," she said bitterly. "Just like last time we took a mass trip somewhere."
"Hey! I stopped that with a blowjob," Xander complained then grinned at her. "Nastiest one ever but it made him quit trying to take over humanity." He shrugged. "I just had to use a lot of listerine for a few days."
Faith looked at him. "Does Tweedy know that?"
"Nope." He smirked. "He never asked."
"I'll tell 'im." She smirked. "I'd like to have copies of everything so we can get you paid like one of our mercs maybe."
"I have copies," Stark said with a smirk. "Even stuff countries were trying to hide. I have *everything* back to Sunnydale. Including him saving the school while the others fought?"
Xander shrugged. "Seemed like the thing to do? How did you get film of that?"
"UCLA's Sunnydale project, Xander. They had it. The former mayor's files had it." Faith went pale. "Not on you though." She relaxed and nodded. "Okay. Apparently we're not getting anyone from Fantastic Four so let's start, people." He turned the meeting over to Pepper, who ran phenomenal meetings and got to the point quickly.
Pepper looked at Xander. "You should be at the table."
"I'm freelance. I just jump in when it happens around me."
"Uh-huh. Sure you do, Xander. And thank you for stopping that weird person with that gas the other day?"
He shrugged. "He avoided being shot in the head somehow. I'll figure out how his human demon self dies sometime soon so he doesn't try to adopt Darcy too." She hit him on the arm. "Seriously!"
She shook her head. "I'm not into evil shitheads. It's why I never date anymore."
Pepper smiled at her. "That plan you were thinking about?"
"I know a nice, slightly dirty bar to bring her to and find her someone pretty, Pepper," Xander assured her, grinning at his sister then at her again. "That way they're tough assholes but pretty enough and probably not going to complain if they somehow find out."
"Okay." She got back to the point of the meeting. One alarm went off but Darcy got up to look outside the door and it quit after she yelled at someone to quit doing experiments while they had VIPs in the building. Then she sat back down. Pepper smiled at her. "Easier than I do it."
"I warned them I'd sic Xander on them as a lab assistant some day soon. They heard he can do a mean impersonation of me," she said with a grin. "They don't want fussed at."
Pepper nodded. "Lab 7?"
"Nineteen," she said with an evil smirk. "Lab 7 learned their lesson last month when I sicced Xander on them for it."
Pepper shivered but nodded. "Good. Saves me yelling, dear." She got back to the current points.
Xander's phone went off so he looked at it, then nodded. He sent back a text and then put his phone back up. He leaned closer to Darcy's ear. "She'll be here later tonight to meet you."
"Coolio." She leaned on his arm. They leaned together.
Jane looked back then up and sighed. "You two could go do happier things."
"Nah," Xander said. "Just in case we talk about who has to handle the next demonic invasion. It's due in New Jersey next week."
Stark leaned over to look at him. "Next week?"
"If they manage it. We're not sure if they will or not," Faith admitted. "They're kinda whiny kids who want to prove they have style and stuff."
"It was this or learn to skateboard and they're flying weasels," Slayer Amanda agreed.
"If you hear ahead, let us know ahead of time, ladies. That way we can have stuff ready just in case? Even if it doesn't happen I'd rather we be aware that's going to possibly be a bad day so we don't schedule things during it."
"Okay. They think next Thursday," Amanda said. "They're flying five foot weasels."
"Otters," Xander corrected. "They're water living but more amphibian so they can be on dry land but they hate walking, Stark. Our gravity is too high for them to walk comfortably so they built jet packs. "Whole lotta nets."
"I can work on that," he agreed, making himself a note. He looked at the other heros. "There's been some real unique battles over the last few years." They just nodded.
"Flying squids," Faith said then shuddered. Amanda grimaced at that too. The slayer from HR shuddered in her seat taking notes for Pepper.
Pepper looked at them. "You girls handle some weird things so we don't have to and I thank you for that because I don't know how to handle a regular squid, much less a flying one that shoots lasers from its suckers." They grinned at her. The new heros all looked confused so Stark pulled up video from that battle.
Bruce Wayne looked at his teammate, who was slowly shaking his head. Then he looked at Stark. "Why didn't anyone call us in?"
"How would we have done that?" Stark shot back. "Until that idiot Luthor we had no idea who you were."
"I still have no idea who he is," Amanda noted. Then shrugged. "But sometimes things fly right over my head."
The other one stared at her. "Really?" She smiled and nodded. "Well, I'm Superman and this is Batman, dear." She gaped then moaned.
"Yeah, you cannot tell Andrew. He'll have a comic'gasm," Xander told her. "And the younger girls will pout because he can't bake cookies for days."
"Not a problem. Andrew's on vacay right now to Bermuda."
"Is that why there's a demon lord down there?" Darcy asked.
Xander looked at her and nodded. "Yeah. He's doing a peace treaty." He put his head back on her shoulder with a yawn.
Faith looked back then at the guys. "The only thing I know about comics is Andrew has a huge collection in storage somewhere official that he has to have insurance on." Both of those guys winced but nodded. "But then again, Andrew once wanted to be an evil overlord so that doesn't surprise me much. He was probably doing research against a future nemesis."
"He gave it up when the other two died," Xander quipped.
"He did?" Pepper demanded.
"Yeah. Andrew's two cohorts had various plans. Including that book Jonathan put out that was magically giving him attention. He became the most interesting man in the world for a bit."
"I remember that book," she said. "What did the other one do?"
"Built his own girlfriend, who is Giles' assistant," Amanda quipped. "She's still too realistic to tell she's metallic."
Faith shook her head. "Don't remind me. Please."
Xander nodded. "He built a few battle suit style robots to take out a bank and things too, Pepper. He died thanks to That Witch We Don't Speak Of after killing her girlfriend."
"Oh. All right. Are there others like them?"
"Pedro Vasquelez," Faith said dryly, looking back at Xander.
"No, he's stealing from his son. Not Ferdinand the bull, the other one no one seems to remember."
Pepper made a note of that name for future looking up. "Any others, guys?"
"Ooooh, Dawn ran into one," Xander said, sitting up with a grin. "At her program in Spain's college. Guy who only introduces himself as Ricardo. Though he's from Morocco so we don't think that's his name since they were colonized by the French and not the Spanish or Portugese. Wanna be bio-tech guy. Dawn had to remove his attempt at nanites with an imp to destroy the bugs and then had him taken in by two succuba so he didn't have the attention span to create. Not *good* attempts, and his nanites were pretty bad she said, but yeah. Might wanna watch out for him."
She made that note too, grinning at them. "Can she send me a file on that?"
"Ask the lady. She and Mortimer are on the beach right now for semester break. Mortimer apparently really likes digging in the sand."
"I can do that." She nodded, making that note as well.
"There's a program for artifacts in Spain?" Superman asked, looking confused.
"There's a few artifact programs," Xander told him. "She got into Spain's because Egypt wouldn't take anyone with magic, Russia won't take anyone who had a relative who was Council, she didn't even look at the one in China, and the other one she applied too late."
"Oh. Interesting. Like magical artifacts?"
"Supposedly not," Darcy said. "But yeah, in reality, some are. Spain's program got mad at Dawn for finding a few that were and possessing people to have orgies."
"Egypt's has the worst problem with magical artifacts from tombs," Xander told them. "But they're very anti-magic user down there. They try to hide it whenever they run into one. Did they ever announce that court mage's tomb, Pepper?"
"Not that I've seen," she admitted. "There was?"
"Yeah, he was at least partially a demon by his statues and his whole temple *glowed* with the magic when I accidentally found it by destroying an artifact for them." He got an odd look. "I had used it to trap something trying to hump a statue of Horus at a temple," he said dryly with a slight nod. "Took it out into the desert to destroy it. It flashed out and the tomb opened up prettily while we were standing there."
"Wow. So whole new tomb area?"
"Whole new tomb complex areas," he warned. "All probably magic users." She winced but nodded. "But they know the number to a witch in MI-5 and mine and Humphrey's in Bogota so they have his number and whoever took his place. If they need help, they know we can sneak in and deal with it."
"That's sweet, Xander." She grinned at him. "Did you have many problems like that down there?"
"Pepper, I don't need the nightmares. Okay? Ask that when there's not impressionable minds around." He pointed at the other heros. "Then we can talk about Hellgods and goddesses and all that I ran into down there." Her eyes went wide but nodded quickly.
Darcy shook her head then sighed. "One sent me a plant for being your sister. They said they corrected someone's assumption we were screwing."
He hugged her. "It's because you're so fantastic."
"I know." She elbow nudged him. "Get off. Grabby."
He grinned. "If they see me being cute against you, maybe someone big, strong, and good will take you from me. Half of them hate me anyway."
She looked at him. "I don't need a boyfriend that way, Xander. Being with a hero can suck your soul out. We'll try for a baby daddy some year soon at that bar you know." He nodded, relaxing again.
"There's banks for that," Jane reminded her.
"Yeah but they're expensive and she might find someone who wasn't really pretty," Xander told her. "Darcy's pretty enough to compensate but I'd want my niece or nephew to be super pretty so everyone I know wants to leave it alone because it'd draw too much attention to them."
Jane looked at him, then shook her head with a sigh. "We can protect the baby, Xander."
"Of course you can but why give them incentive, Jane."
"True. A few have already tried to be grabby over your sister." She looked at Pepper again. "Speaking of, I saw one of his when I came in. He was pouting at the building and talking about Xander being in here instead of going to brunch with him."
"I told him I wasn't going to do brunch with him. He'd expect me to pay," Xander complained. Then he sighed. "He's not *bad*. He's a bio researcher who wants my blood to find antidotes. Probably."
Darcy looked at him. "I need to help you weed down the ones who think you're pretty, Xander. I really do." He grinned at her. "Even if they're helpful for battles."
"I know but I can only flirt with the ones who like me."
"True, and it's nice that so many of them have positive relationships with weapons, but some of them are really scary assholes."
"They are." He nodded. "And some of those are the worst in bed." He shrugged. "But sometimes you gotta go there to get the weapons to blow up the invasion."
"I know." She patted his knee. "We'll help you find someone better."
He nodded. "That'd be nice. That's how I found Harl. I was flirting with her. Then she realized it because she said I felt brotherly instead of loverly to her senses."
Darcy grinned at him. "Of course she did. You said she was mildly a bad girl and they do love you."
Faith looked back. "More than most do. Oh, saw Helena," she told him, staring at him. He winced. "She said to tell you she's repossessing you this weekend?"
"I don't know why. I haven't seen her in eight months."
"She's an assassin," Stark said dryly. "Please don't let her into the building."
"No, I'd go stay on her couch for a bit, Stark."
"That's fine. We don't want someone to come in to kill Rogers or me."
Xander looked over at him. "Your prices are only about five mil total, Stark. Pepper's are like fifteen. Though two may not be able to pay it. Rogers is only three. They think he might be slightly immortal from the self healing thingy it gave him."
Darcy shook her head quickly. "How much are mine?"
"Fifty G's. Still that same one from the old liners."
"Yup, that's my yelling match of the night," Faith quipped, making herself a note. Amanda was making her own notes. "Any on the hotty who uses the bow?"
"Yeah there's like five, maybe six on him. Not all that expensive ones though. His prices are barely like two mil and change."
"Good to know," Stark agreed. He looked at the silent redheaded assassin in the corner. She was texting someone. "Telling him?"
"Him, Rogers, Barnes," she said patiently.
"He's only got one and it's huge," Xander warned her. "He's got six mil on him alone from one of the former HYDRA people. It was on that same older bulletin board." She looked that up and noted that as well. "You only have two prices outside the ones you screwed up and I think one was from Ross and the other from Fury."
"I can see that. They're both screwed when I get my hands on them," she said in Russian.
He grinned. "That sounded nasty so I'll just stand there and cheerlead."
She looked at him. "Mind out of bad thoughts please, Xander," she ordered. "I do not want to see you in cheerleader gear with pompoms. I'm not that sort of former assassin."
He grinned. "Helena would enjoy that thought."
Amanda looked at Natasha. "If you're his sort of bad girl, please hit on him for real? He's creepy when he's been without for so long."
"It's only been two weeks," Xander muttered, glaring at her. She shuddered. "Did my ex hit on you again, Amanda?"
"Yes and he was creepy. Green haired thing."
"No, that's not *my* ex." Wayne moaned a bit. "Yeah, think so. Don't know why but I think so. So let me handle that problem. I can even be subtle." He grinned at Darcy, who shrugged. "Sure."
"If you get into your vault, I want a report," Stark ordered.
"Not like you pay me, Stark. I'm not an Avenger."
"Thank god, you'd look lumpy in spandex," Amanda quipped, staring at him. He glared. "You do!"
"I do not! And how would you know?"
"Saw you jogging?"
"That's not me. I don't jog. I do have a distant cousin in DC working for the FBI who denies having ever heard of me. They ask him about every week."
"Could've been him then. But you're not muscular," she complained. "Spandex looks best on muscled guys."
He glared at her. "You'd be shocked, Amanda. Though I'm not into stripper moments here in this room at this moment so proposition me some other time. Okay?" She squeaked, blushed, and ducked her head. He looked at Darcy, who was sighing and looking up. "Do you like those lolis I showed you?"
She stared at him oddly. "Hell. No. Not anywhere near me or the team, Xander. Please?"
"Fine. I'll find another way." He sat there and considered it. He had other methods that would work just as well.
She looked at Pepper, a begging look. Pepper grinned at her so she at least had backup stopping Xander from going fully evil. She hoped.
The other heros, they'd learn. Fast probably. Hopefully.
Xander had set things up brilliantly, if he did say so himself. So when he spotted the idiot ex of his other sister, he lured him into the car with a call from Harley, who had no idea what was going on, and then locked them in and started the gas going. Then he pointed at the portable DVD player on the dashboard and ate a sandwich. Which happened to have the antidote to the gas going off around them.
The villain sneered but watched it, wincing at what was going on. "What the hell is that?"
"Something I handled last year. See, you're not even on my playlist of bad enough evil. But...well, you came after my sister, dude." He stared at him, eating another bite. He saw the gas taking effect. "If I handle things like that, and worse," he said, reaching over to change the videos to something even worse - one that had taken out a school before he got there. "What am I going to do to you for going near my sisters?"
"What's going on?" he demanded, trying to get out of the car but his hands weren't working as well or as fast as usual. "What's that smell?"
Xander ate another bite, grinning as he chewed. "Demonic virus if you want me to be honest. It's usual effects eat the nerve endings in your brain so you can't pass any receptors or messages. Then it slowly dissolves the tissues." He stared as he finished that sandwich off. "And yeah, I'm immune." He shrugged but grinned.
"You just *had* to draw my attention by trying my sib? Or the other half-sister? Really, dude?" The guy tried to move but he was already slowed down and his limbs were shaking. "So for making me bend down to handle you, I'm going to make your last few months interesting. Because Harl really does deserve the right to say a goodbye to you for real. Emotional catharsis as it's called."
He stared at him, watching as the gas kept working. The guy was trying to get out but oh well. "Safety locks. So you can't get out. The windows are locked. You're ...well, I'm sure some people think you're really scary. I just think it's been pathetic. Trying to prove yourself as worthy as those ones I've handled and you're not. I mean, yeah, the gas attack was bad, but really? I can find and make so many more interesting things. Hell, I helped create this one." He grinned at the officer stomping over. "What's up, Officer?" he called.
"Roll down the window, sir."
"Can't. It's locked. I'm having a talk with my sister's ex." He pointed. "Before I have to go full on evil because of his stupid times." He smiled. "But we're fine."
"Bullshit. Let him out, sir."
"No." He grinned and waved. "Because I've got a sedative gas going on in here. We're having a good talk. He tried to blow her up. And our other sister." He stared at the guy. "You actually tried to attack Tony Stark's shit, dude. How f-ing stupid are you?" he asked with a grin. Sure, the gas was trying to act on him but he would be fine. The guy went stiff and started to cry as his body quit working.
"Awww. Don't worry. You'll have time to think about things." He patted him. The guy struggled to hit him but Xander smirked and held up something the officer couldn't see. "Keep going." The man blinked at the tiny grenade then went limp as he passed out. "Good idea." He stopped the gas feed. The officer had called in Hazmat. He waved. "Guys, he's kinda evil. There's actually a price on his head in another city. He's a really bad psycho bad guy who went after my sister. We had a talk."
"Sir, what sedative are you using?"
Xander got out but closed the door. "It's actually a demonic based sedative. As long as he doesn't have drugs in his system, he'll be fine. In a few days. If he has coke in him he might have a positive reaction and just see God for a few weeks. If it's anything else, well...." He shrugged but grinned. "He's behind the attempted bombing of Stark Towers a few weeks back. He was trying to get me and my half-sister because he abused and mistreated our other half-sister. But she did get away from him."
The hazmat guy stared. "Are you affected?"
"Slightly but I had the antidote. I don't want you guys to be exposed though. I'm not evil. I was proving to him he wasn't evil enough to really be on my usual handling list but well...." He shrugged. "He had to push his luck around my sibs."
An officer rushed over. "Harris!"
"Yes, dear." He looked at him. "It's the PX-390 gas."
"Fuck. No! We do not touch that, Officers. It's deadly." He stared in there then at Xander. "That's that Joker guy!"
"Yeah!" He grinned and nodded. "He came after me and Darcy because our other half-sib got away from his abusive ass." He smirked at the hazmat guy. "I don't want you guys to be exposed."
"If he dies you're liable for that," the hazmat officer noted calmly.
"Well, no, there's a huge bounty on his head. Federally and in a local town. It is dead or alive. I'm sure it won't kill him today. Today it's mostly paralyzing him." He looked at the officer who was a husband to a slayer. "It'll take an hour to get him out of there but I don't really want to expose normals, Paul."
"I get that and it's nice of you to protect us, Xander, but that's really mean."
"The guy tried to bomb Stark Towers to get Darcy and me. He believes all those extra deaths would just be fun."
Paul nodded. "I totally get that urge. You're the one who handles the bad things for the slayers. You handled multiple apocalypse battles. Is he one really?"
"Yeah. He is." He took Paul's phone to look that guy up. "That's the demon bulletin boards." He let him see it.
"Oh, shit. Yeah, he's federal level evil, guys." He let the hazmat guy see it. "Okay, let's get us full decontam suits so we can remove him from there. We'll have to bring him bubbled because that's not contagious but us inhaling it would be deadly. That gas is neurologic." Xander grinned and nodded.
"There's not a lot we can do about it. Xander mixes that one specially for the truly evil fucks he's had to take out. It's taken out four hell gods and a hell goddess who wanted to take over humanity. It paralyzes then eats the nerves." The hazmat guy winced but made a note of that. "This guy, he apparently deserves that. Xander, the antidote?"
"I did have it. And lunch. I combined them." He grinned. "I needed lunch. I haven't eaten since yesterday. Vadma called to nag me all night about things she had no idea about."
Paul shook his head. "The wife shared from the bulletin board."
"Oh, I had a yell at Buffy too. Volunteering for battles for bikini time."
"Shit. Yeah, I heard though." He patted him on the shoulder with his gloved hand. "You're kinda weird, Xander."
"Yep, but someone's gotta do it. Not like the girls can and no one else will. Especially not when it's about my sisters." He shrugged. "SHIELD actually has a file saying to rape and torture Darcy to get her away from the labs so they can put someone in her place." Paul winced. "So we gotta be a bit proactive and take out the zits. Just like their skin stuff."
"You need the infirmary," Paul ordered. "Let me call Darcy?"
"Suck it up." He found her number and called. "Lewis, I'm Officer Paul Douglas and my wife's a slayer. Xander has used a gas bomb he created to deal with your other sister's ex-boyfriend. He's presently trapped in a car. No, I'm talking to Xander and he's slightly infected because he took the antidote. I need his notes on that gas and I need to quarantine him.
"Would you like him at NYU?" He waited while she yelled that up the hall to Stark, who complained. "Okay, that's fine. No, we're outside the tower, ma'am. Yes, there. Thank you, ma'am." He hung up. "They're going to come give us info on that gas. He's going to the tower for their infirmary.
"We're going to take the bad guy in there into custody, safely, and then we're all going to have a drink later because he ended a great plague on another city. The FBI will be nagging us but oh well! Got it?" They nodded. The hazmat guy had been calling orders in and finished them up. The Joker was in the car begging for his life. Though he looked amused.
Darcy stomped out, staring at Xander. "Phone!" He handed it over with a grin. She got into the hidden files for the officers, letting him see it. Paul winced as he read, letting the hazmat guy take it to read. "Damn idiot! You're barely healed!" She swatted him.
"I took the antidote and had lunch." He had to duck away from her yelling at him and swatting him. She sucked in a deep breath to calm down. "Darcy," he moaned. "Please?"
"Hell no!" He slumped, nodding at the ground.
Paul looked at her. "He's very protective of you as well."
"I know that. He had someone create a nuclear level butt plug for my next bad boyfriend."
"See, I could've used worse," he told the hazmat guy. "We needed a test for that one anyway. Be damned if I wanna flirt with that one though."
The hazmat guy blinked. "Why would you do that?"
"That's my sister," Xander said with a point. "No one else will protect her if she can't protect herself. No agent is going to help her because I used to be Council. And her boss is a geek with big ideas they'd like to own. I mean, the order to torture and rape her to remove her from her job? Hell no! I can't trust you guys to do it either." The hazmat officer winced but nodded. "So yeah, sometimes you gotta do it yourself. And I do have immunity to handle big problems that may become a problem for the slayers to deal with. He's a problem that could harm them, and everyone else."
Paul patted him on the head. "We agree. Knowing what I know, you do need to protect Darcy and whoever that other sister is. You need to be highly overprotective over them just in case. This guy, he had to go down and no one else has managed it. I don't think he'll miraculously be able to get out of this."
"If he has coke in his system, it may leave him alive enough to wake up but he'd be highly impaired. Probably nearly a vegetable. It'll give a few weeks at the least for everyone to say goodbye to him. That sister can grieve and all that then throw an irish wake to wish him well in his chosen afterlife. He won't be able to bomb any more high rises, no more highly toxic gas explosions from him, no more bombing schools...." He shrugged. "Someone had to do it and no one else was so that made it my problem when he came after us."
"Will the DA like that?" the hazmat officer demanded.
"I have federal level permission to handle problems, Officer. Will the local DA have an option for an opinion?"
"Maybe not." The ambulance got there with paramedics in containment suits carrying a bubble. He took the phone to let them see what it was. They used their phones to take pictures of the whole file and then carefully opened the door to get that guy out of there. They fed him into the bubble as they pulled him out, then carried the bubble off. The tower's infirmary came down to get Xander, letting Darcy follow along to nag him.
"Go ahead and turn off that battle video I was making him watch to prove he wasn't as evil as he hoped," he called back. "And that's a tossaway DVD player and the car too."
"Fine," Paul agreed. He sighed, looking at the higher up showing up. "Harris took out the Joker with a demon gas because the guy went after his sister."
The higher up nodded. "I heard. I talked to the FBI, who found that permission, and they all moaned at it. The federal prosecutors called in agreed 'more power to him' and 'he can probably use the bounty'. All this?" Paul let him see the notes he had made. "There's a what now?"
"He had to rush back because his half-sister, who works in a lab in the tower," he said with a point. "Got hurt by a date. So he had a legal contact in Germany, who is BND, help him make up a nuclear level butt plug. And a chemical explosive to be used as the lube. He is a very overprotective little brother. Xander's dates are mostly slightly evil. He's had to protect his sister from some of them. Even though most of them thought they were dating instead of siblings."
"I saw our file on him and it mentioned them complaining about that thought and a few of his ex's thinking they were stealable."
"Yes, they do." Paul winced as his phone went off. He answered it. "Yes, Buffy?" He listened. "No, he's fine. He took out a major evil who was technically a human. Xander said he was more a demon in a human suit because he really liked to kill people. No, going after his sisters. One of them was his ex-girlfriend." He shifted and sighed. "No, he's fine. He took the antidote while he made the guy watch a battle video to show him what real evil was. Yeah, he's fine. Darcy has him." He hung up and shuddered. "She's going to nag him too. She thinks Harris is *normal*."
"Like hell. The federal level people are not amused but the DOJ people are laughing at how he did it. They haven't been able to capture and keep him, much less end his terrorist ways. Though a few had bet that it'd be during sex." He looked at the car. "That thing?"
"Xander got it specially for this. He said that and the DVD player are both expendable. Don't touch the keys maybe if it's more than that single key. Let me look for anything he might've dropped?"
"Have fun with that. Be safe. Let me know how bad this can be."
"It eats the nerves so nothing can be passed on, sir."
"That's gross." He walked off to make a report. No one was going to be happy about this except maybe someone in Gotham.
Paul went to search the car and came up with one picture and the dvd from the player. He scanned that in the car to see which battles, and they weren't one he had seen. So that was fun. He emailed those to the bulletin board to note that they had happened some time ago and why they had video of it. He also locked it to senior girls and staff only so none of the kids could watch it. They were horrifying.
Xander heard a noise and leaned out of the lab. "Hey, Brucie!" he cooed, getting up to go get sniffed and pet his buddy. "How's my buddy Brucie!" He got sniffed deeply then the hyena leaned on him to get petted. "Such a good boy!" he cooed, grinning at him. "Very good boy!" He teased and played with the hyena out there in the hallway. Darcy leaned out to stare at him. "Come meet Bruce?"
"I can try that." She came out carefully. "Hey, baby!" She settled on her knees next to Xander, letting the hyena sniff her and growl. "Hey, I'm nice."
"She's part of the pack, Bruce." He hugged Darcy, making the hyena sniff her again then lap her up the center of her face. "Yeah, she's a good packmate and she can pet I'm pretty sure." Darcy slowly reached over, petting the ears. Bruce liked that and rolled onto his side so they could spoil him with attention.
Stark walked out of his lab and paused, then backed into it. "Do I want to know?"
"This is Bruce, he's Harl's pet," Xander quipped. "He's a very good boy. We need to get you some bunnies to chase. And if she brought Lou and Bud them too. Yes we should."
"He does have a prey drive," Harley said with a grin from the elevator. She was dressed fairly conservatively today. Her shirt was colorful and had glitter pictures. Her jeans were cut off about her knees. Her hair was up in her pigtails with the dyed ends. "He bounded off to come play?"
"Apparently," Darcy said with a grin. She shrugged but grinned and waved. "Hey, Harley, I'm Darcy."
"I'm Harley." They shook hands and Harley settled in behind her boy to pet him too. "He's a good boy. Do not teach him to chase people or dogs though."
"I was thinking bunnies. They can hide and fight back a tiny bit. They have a nice gym here that has mirrors and some bleachers that fold in."
"That might be cool." She stared at him. "Are you really that overprotective?"
"Over Darcy? Yes." He grinned. "Because that shithead ex of yours came *here* to blow up."
"Sorry but he'll survive for a bit. You'll have time to say bye and all that. Make it a fun funeral so he wouldn't be pissed. All that stuff."
"What did you do?" she demanded.
"Demon gas." He grinned. "It eats the nerves."
She blinked a few times. "That's...kinda evil, Xander."
"I know but he tried to blow up Darcy. I'm highly overprotective over her because she can only taze and half of my own ex's think she's sweet enough to have for their own. Aria's offered to train her a few times."
"Aria runs a group that could be a version of Octopussy," Darcy told her at the confused look. "Whole group of girls who steal stuff and assassinate. She told me they stripped once to get nuke plans from someone." Bruce shifted so she cooed and petted his ears again. "Jane, can you get him some water?"
"Get who water?" she asked, coming out with a bottle of water. "Um....okay."
Harley smiled and waved. "This is Bruce. He's mine."
"He's...very strong looking. Let me pout the water into a bowl for him." She went to do that. And send out an alert so no one bothered them.
Xander grinned. "That's Jane. Darcy works for her scientific self. She's rebuilding a bridge to Asgard and makes wacky portals. Including one that brought ethereal plane tentacles to pet them."
Harley looked at Darcy, who nodded. "It's weird sometimes but I'm a lot of assistanting for Jane. Have been for years. She's like a really forgetful sister sometimes."
"That's cool though." She nodded. "Everyone should find a job they love. Which is the important thing to happiness in life." She went back to petting her baby while Jane brought out the bowl of water. "Thanks, Jane."
"Welcome. You guys have a good talk. I warned security so no one comes up to stare in awe and gets eaten." She went back to the lab to consider why Darcy was really the normal sister.
Darcy got up with a squeal, bringing back her pet. "Someone Xander dated made a machine that creates pokemon. An agent tested it and made a Torchit. We've adopted him. This is Bob."
Harley smiled and petted it gently. "Hey, Bob. This is Bruce."
"Bob can blow fire," Xander warned. "But he's very protective. He's a good Torchit."
Bruce sniffed and licked it then went to drink his water. Darcy put her bird back and came back. Bruce curled up in her lap so she got to pet him a lot.
"Not the belly, he's not into belly pets," Harley warned. She looked at Xander. "Huntress said hi?"
"I know her adoptive parents. I had to handle a demon near them and they were trying to handle it themselves but it took beheading."
"Ah." She nodded. "That's cool I guess." She smirked at Xander. "I thought I was the weird one."
"Nah. I jumped in at sixteen." He shrugged. "I decided one little girl shouldn't have to save the world by herself. Worst decision of my life some days." Harley hugged him. "Thanks."
"Welcome." She hugged Darcy too. "You hug nicely."
"It's a huge skill to cultivate," Darcy agreed with a grin for her. "It's comforting and a necessary form of contact that many people don't get enough of. I thought about starting a cuddle group here in the tower for the scientists that need human contact."
"Those are neat. I went to one. A whole lot more hippie than yoga but without the farting and stretching into weird positions."
Darcy nodded. "I can't do yoga at all. It compresses me the wrong way and I make a ton of noise." Harley and she grinned. They got back to petting the baby while Xander ordered two bunnies. "Is he your only one?"
"Here today. The other two are laying on top of Canary to nap on her. She's got the sniffles so they're making sure she rests. And probably stealing her ice cream."
Xander shook his head. "I never thought of offering them ice cream. Not that I had a lot of it in Africa. I really kinda missed ice cream while I was down there."
Harley nodded. "I would too. Africa has to be really hot since it's near the equator." He nodded.
"Don't get him started. He had some really thin times and he has a recipe for scorpion gumbo."
"Eww." Harley looked at him oddly.
"It was food."
"I guess." She nodded. "Wow."
"Thin times in places that're having a drought." He shrugged. A guard came off the elevator, pausing when he spotted them. "Is that my bunnies?"
"Yeah," he said with a nod, putting the box on the floor and sliding it over. "Don't let it lose in the labs. The scientists might capture the bunny. Or the ...pet."
"His name's Bruce and he's mine," Harley said with a grin and a wave.
"That's cool. He looks sweet, miss. You can use the yoga gym."
"I was going to use the boxing gym. It has some bunny hiding spots. He needs the exercise to play." He grinned.
The guard just nodded. "I'll send the cleaning robots up to clean up his messy eating later." He went to tell his boss. He turned the camera monitors to that area and got out of the way. "They're going to the boxing gym with the bunny Harris ordered."
"Uh-huh. What is that?"
"Hyena. His name is Bruce. The other is, I think, their other half sister."
The head of the guard unit called Hill to let her know that. She came down to look and moaned at that. The trio took the two animals to the boxing gym. Xander had Bruce sit and walked off to put the bunny down. Bruce's ears perked up when he heard the bunny move. Xander got out of the way. "There you go, Brucie. Have some fun!" He pointed with a grin. "Fetch it!"
Bruce looked at his human, who grinned and nodded. "You need a good chase, baby. Go play with the bunny!" Darcy nudged the bunny with a foot. It hopped and Bruce lunged at it. The humans got out of the way. Bruce got to chase the bunny all around the gym. The mirrors confused him for a minute but after not getting the bunny in it, and Xander having to let him under the bleachers because the bunny was hiding down there, he chased it back out and around the room until he caught it finally and sat down to eat it.
"Awww!" Harley cooed, grinning at him. "Good boy, Brucie!" She leaned down to pet him. "Such a good boy!" She grinned at Xander. "I need to do that with him sometimes. Last time I tried in the park he chased a cat and the hotdog cart guy." They settled down to talk in there. Bruce brought over his meal to eat while being cuddled. Darcy got up to clean up the blood with some papertowels then came back to sit back down. Harley grinned at her. "That's sweet."
"The robots don't do a great job."
"That's the problem with robots. They can only do what you tell 'em."
Stark leaned in with a sigh. "What...."
"I cleaned up the bunny blood, Stark."
"Okay." He nodded, leaving them alone. "Sure." He went to talk to Pepper. She had sanity. Clearly Lewis had lost hers somewhere. Now she was taking his and her brother's with hers.
Harley looked at the body on the hospital bed, leaning on the railing he was hitched to. They didn't expect him to wake up but they still had him handcuffed. "Oh, Puddin'," she sighed, staring at him. "Xander was really mean to you." He groaned. "I know. But you did go near my other sister. He's really overprotective of her."
She touched his flabby hand. Almost no life left in him. "I gotta plan the funeral. Everyone else would make it a normal, standard thing instead of it being fun. You deserve a fun send off at least. Maybe a cannon? Shoot you off into the sky as fireworks?"
The nurse leaned in. "Are you allowed to visit him, miss?"
"I'm his last girlfriend." She stared at the nurse. "Did he have coke in his system? Because that could limit how much the demonic gas worked on him. Someone said it might mean he wakes up somehow."
"He did. He showed signs of long term drug use including cocaine. We've done brain scans. He does show a lot of damage but I've seen people with brain damage learn to at least have some sort of partial life. He won't be normal."
"No, he wasn't before this though." She shrugged. She looked at him then at the nurse again. "How long?"
"Probably six months at the most. We have an office that can help you plan the funeral."
"Nah. I gotta make it fun. Mister J would want a fun one." The nurse looked confused. "I noticed they cut off all the green hair and didn't let him keep his pale foundation."
"Oh!" She blinked and backed up. "That's... the Joker?"
Harley grinned and nodded. "Yeah, it was." She looked at him, standing up. "He went after my half-sibs and they fought back. Totally reasonable. Darcy's sweet and kinda normal. Way too normal." She looked at the nurse. "I'll sneak in again in a few days. Relax. Even if he does wake up I doubt he'll be able to do anything for at least days if ever again."
She nodded. "We'll make a note in case he does wake up so we can call you?"
"Please." She wrote her number down. "This is Montoya's. She'll tell me if I'm not local. Also, he likes to scream as he wakes up. So don't let it scare ya." She grinned. "Have a good shift, nurse. I know you guys got the shit job of the hospital." She left, going to wander around in the park that night. She was bummed. She ran into Robin, staring at him. "Tell Bats Puddin' probably won't be waking up but the coke meant he could. They said he might make it to walking."
"I can do that, Miss Quinn. Are you okay?"
"Kinda bummed. They made sure he didn't look like himself and everything. I've gotta plan a fun funeral for him."
Batman stepped out of the shadows. "That was to protect him, Harley." She turned to look at him. "One of the nurses might've reacted against him for the attacks at the hospital a few years back so they agreed to remove his identity to protect him as a patient in case he does wake up. The same as his gravesite will be hidden so he doesn't get fans mobbing it."
"Xander said the coke might make it work less. He did have some in his system. The nurse said he might wake up. But I gotta plan the funeral. He'd hate to be braindead but walking. Ya know?"
"I know. I would too. Do you need help with the funeral?"
"Do you think he'd rather go with fireworks or with a cannon?"
"Fireworks. Cremate him and mix it with the fireworks so he makes a pretty final explosion."
She grinned. "Thanks, Bats. They gonna call you too?"
"They'll call Commissioner Gordon. He'll tell me."
She nodded. "I gave them mine and Montoya's numbers so we know too. They said maybe six months at the most."
He walked closer to pat her on the shoulder. "I'm sorry you lost him, Harley."
"Me too. But he went after my half-sis Darcy. So Xander had to react."
"He did. He was mean but it did protect her. How are they doing?"
"Pretty good. Xander got Brucie baby a bunny to chase around when I went to talk to 'em." She grinned. "Darcy's thinking about becoming a mom. She's kinda sweet and mom like, and so very normal." She grinned but shook her head. "They're great and she's fine. She's got plans for the baby."
"That's good. Good mothers are in short supply in life these days." He patted her shoulder again. "Go grieve. We've got a gang mugging around here and they'd think you were easy. I don't want to make you beat them yourself."
"Thanks, Bats. Night, Robin." She strolled off. Someone did try to leer so she punched him. "Not tonight. I'm a grieving former girlfriend."
Batman looked at Robin, who shrugged. "The Joker was in New York and tried Avengers tower to get her half sister to turn into Harley," he said quietly. "Their half brother used a demonic nerve toxin on him. He won't recover."
"Wow." Robin nodded once. "That's... is he in pain?"
"No. No nerves to feel pain."
"Huh. No wonder she's sad." They walked off together to get the muggers.
Epilogue: (the outtake happens in the between times!)
Darcy looked at her son as he ran around the conservatory they were waiting in. "Philippe." He looked up. "Please calm down and sit. Near me, near Auntie Jane, just sit please?"
He pouted. "Pretty." He pointed. He could talk in complete sentences but seemed to be annoyed by having to talk at times.
"It is." She grinned. "But you don't want to break the plant. It's more fragile than Pepper's vases." She pointed. He pouted but went to sit beside Jane. She cuddled him and read to him. He hummed, liking that.
Darcy stood up as her baby daddy came in. "You made it." He had been released on technicalities and rights abuses when they shut down the Raft encampment.
"I did." He smirked, coming over to kiss her on the cheek. "Welcome to my house."
"Thank you for letting us run this way while we set back up outside the SHIELD rings."
"It's not a problem." He tipped his head at the staring little boy, grinning back since the kid was smiling at him. "I have been looking forward to meeting you, Philippe." He sat down. The boy walked over to stare at him closer. "Good morning."
Philippe tipped his head nearly all the way to the right then to the left. "Not know you."
He looked at Darcy, who shrugged. "I'm your father." The boy looked confused.
"That's Daddy, Phil," Darcy said, sitting next to him. "This is your daddy."
Philippe stared at him then nodded. "Cool!" He ran back to Jane. "Read me?"
"Of course I can. Books and math come before most things for him outside frogs," she told them.
Helmut Zemo sat back, looking at Darcy. "He's sweet."
"He tries real often. Especially when he wakes you up at four in the morning because he's decided night's done."
He smiled, kissing the back of her knuckles. "He is adorable."
"Thanks." She grinned. "He takes after you but he has my hair."
"I noticed." He got tossed a book by Jane, and waved it. His son followed the book, coming over to stare at him. He pulled him up into his lap to read to him. The boy wiggled between them. "You can sit on me."
"Nope," he said with a grin and a head shake. "Not ride you. You not a pony!"
"No, I'm not a pony, that's true." He opened the book to read and show him the pictures. His son was charmed and cooed at him, holding his mom's hand as he was spoiled with attention. He smiled at his butler when he came in. "Oeznik, this is Philippe Darien Lewis."
"I saw your paperwork on him, sir." He looked at Darcy. "Might he be hungry?"
"Probably not for a few hours." She smiled. "He's mostly a good boy but if he's annoying you let me know. He knows he has to have manners with everyone."
"I can let that be known. Does he throw many fits?"
"No but he'll run you over and forget to apologize. He'll sneak into places to investigate your closet. Often with jelly on his hands." The butler smiled at that fact. "He's two and a half but he's mostly a good boy. Though he does like frogs so sorry when you find one in the house."
"Understood. He's a little boy. That's something they do. Sir there brought in lizards."
Helmut nodded. "Yes I did. My mother was not amused. She complained about it until I was ten." He went back to reading. "We should go outside." His son's eyes went wide. "Would you like to go look at the gardens and fountain?"
"Try to keep him from swimming?" Darcy begged. "He will but he hates baths."
"I can do that." He stood up and picked up the boy, walking outside with him and Jane.
Darcy sighed, looking at the butler. "I know you're worried about me. I'm not a gold digger. I didn't expect him to be in the son's life."
"He is quite a good father, Miss Lewis."
"Yeah. He is." She smiled slightly. "Philippe is thrilled with more people around. Usually it's me, Jane, and his uncle Xander."
"I've seen Mr. Harris. He's nearby somewhere. I'll have him shown in if he comes here." She nodded, getting up to shake his hand. "Is there anything he's allergic to?"
"He hates baths. Absolutely will not stand a bath. Even with bubbles and toys. If there's soap, he's not into that. Soaking, sure. I had him soaking with me plenty as a baby. Swimming, absolutely. He'll find a way to swim on you even if there's just a tiny puddle. Taking a bath to get clean? Even if you don't tell him it's a bath, huge fit."
"I'll warn the housekeeper then. That way she doesn't react to him screaming."
"Thanks. And I'm really sorry if he tries to sneak into your rooms. I've tried *so* hard to break that one. He said he's Indiana Jones. That's Xander's fault."
"Sir used to explore plenty, Miss Lewis." He walked off happier. She had signed papers that she did not want anything from his employer. It stated he could claim the son if he wanted for his title but she did not want material support. His boss hadn't signed it but she had. He thought she was nice enough. Not a gold digger, he'd seen plenty of those. Her boss, Jane Foster, was a bit weirder. Then again, she was a theoretical astrophysicist.
He went to warn the housekeeper, who was watching Helmut teach his son about the plants around the fountain. "He does not like baths and he likes to explore. She warned he would sneak into a closet with jelly fingers," he said quietly. "He'll swim, play in puddles, anything but take a bath, then he'll throw a fit. He may run you over and she said to tell her if he got rude. She wants him to have good manners."
She smiled at him. "So he's a little boy?"
"Quite apparently." They watched, hearing the ribbit from the boy. "Oh, and he likes frogs. She apologized in advance for any that come inside."
She giggled. "Frogs are for boys to play with." She got lunch ready. "Will he be eating soon?"
"She said probably a few hours."
"That's fine. He seems like a good boy."
"So far. He does like being read to. He let Sir read to him but wouldn't sit on his lap. Said he wasn't a pony to ride."
She giggled, nodding. "He's a good boy so far."
"Her brother is Harris."
"Interesting. I'll let him in if he shows up."
"Let me bring them something to drink." He got them waters, bringing them out.
"Jane, water?" Darcy called loudly. She flinched, looking over from studying something. "Water?" She waved the bottle. "Take Jane some water, Philippe?" He ran over to do that and got his own to drink on his way back to his father letting him play in the water. She smiled at the butler. "Thank you, Oeznik."
"You're welcome, Miss Lewis." He went back inside to watch how they did things. They were Americans so a bit weird. Though Sir was laughing that his son was dancing in the water and splashing them both by it. Darcy showed him birds and he blinked, but ran over to stare up at them.
When Xander showed up he had a strange bird on his shoulder. "Is that a pokemon?" Helmut demanded.
"Yeah. One of my ex's left Darce the machine he made to make eggs to hatch pokemon. An agent tested it with a Torchit card so this is Bob the Torchit." He let it see Helmut, chirping at him. "It will blow fireballs when it's scared. He imprinted on Darcy and loves the nephew. We have stuff to take care of it in their stuff that got delivered to the farmhouse they're renting up the road."
"That's fine. We've had animals in the house before and it's not the hyena your other sister is said to have."
"Bruce loves Darcy and Philippe too." He grinned. "Bruce gave baby Philippe a baby bath because he was all messy after eating off mom."
Helmut blinked a few times. "He did?"
"We have pictures somewhere. Ask Darcy when they get the photo album unpacked."
He went outside. "Your sister's hyena gave him a bath?"
She grinned. Jane pulled out her phone to show him the pictures she had taken. "It's a bit blurry. He was carrying him off to nap in a corner around him and give him a cub bath."
He took the phone to look at, blinking hard. "Is he safe around the baby?" He handed the phone back.
"So far," Xander agreed as he came out.
"Bob!" Philippe yelled, coming over to bounce around Xander. "Hi, Bob!" Xander let the Torchit sit on Philippe's head so he went back to playing with him near the fountain.
Xander grinned at him. "He managed to find someone's leopard cub in the city too and tried to adopt it. He was barely able to crawl and went after the higher status woman who was walking it. She was not amused but the leopard tried to adopt him too."
"He is loveable," he said patiently.
"Maybe he'll be an exotic vet," Darcy quipped. "I wrote an apology letter to her. She was huffy and told all her society friends." She grinned. "Stark told me she told others and he told her off for having a leopard at all in the city. We almost took him to a zoo but we had a huge storm. I'd hate to see what he tried to adopt there."
He looked down, nodding then at her. "He is quite enjoyable."
She grinned. "He really is loveable. And a bit active. Philippe," she called without looking. "Don't chase Bob and let him sit wherever he wants. Remember, Bob doesn't like water and you're only allowed in the water when an adult is there." She heard a pouty noise but Xander went to watch the kid. She smiled at him. "He's like a grayhound. He'll go for a few hours and then he'll collapse and do stuff with Auntie Jane's homework for the rest of the day."
He nodded. "I have no idea but each child is different." She grinned at that. "Was there another reason you ran this way?"
"SHIELD isn't allowed in the country."
"True. No other reason?" He moved closer, one hand going to her waist. "Perhaps...." He smirked.
"Well, I've been thinking," she admitted. "I'd like to get him potty trained before I give him a sibling," she finished more quietly.
He winked at her. "I think that would be delightful." She blushed, grinning at him. "We can start tonight?"
"We can start tomorrow. When we're at the farmhouse. I can travel back."
"Hmm. I can show up there. You have photos I haven't seen yet." He winked, letting her to go to see why his son was sounding pouty. Bob was too high for him to pet and was eating an ornamental fish.
Darcy settled on a chair, letting Helmut enjoy his son. It was going to be a long month if the visions were correct.
There's Another Half Lewis/Half Harris Sibling?